The 14 best apps for getting the most our of your Mac (AAPL)

MacBook Air ip6

It’s no secret that a Mac is one of the best tools available for getting things done — both in work and in play.

And Mac apps are the key to that. The following apps are the “must-haves,” the ones that will actually change the way you use your Mac. These apps will take your movie-watching to the next level, keep your Mac running clean, or let you make your own GIFs at any time. On the more serious side, they will help you take great notes and build effective passwords to keep your accounts safe.

There’s even an app to make your computer screen easier on your eyes.

At the root of it all, these apps make it easier than ever to do nearly any common task — in other words, these are the 14 Mac apps you should download today.

Additional reporting by Kyle Russell and Steven Tweedie.

SEE ALSO: These are the 15 best apps to meet cool people around you — and while you’re traveling

Helium is the best way to watch Netflix while getting work done.

Helium is a multitasker’s dream, making it easy to watch your favorite shows without sacrificing any valuable screen real estate or resizing windows. The secret? It turns your videos partially transparent while removing your mouse’s ability to interact with it, freeing you up to use your mouse to click, scroll, and select anything that resides behind your video.

Price: Free

Cheatsheet shows you all the shortcuts in whatever app you are using.

Cheatsheet is an app that makes using all other apps better. After Cheatsheet is installed, you can just hold the “⌘” key a bit longer than usual, and Cheatsheet will bring up a list of all active shortcuts in the app you are using.

Price: Free

F.lux gives your eyes a break by reducing your screen’s colors to match the time of day.

F.lux is perfect for those mornings when you have to work on your computer before the sun comes up. Instead of squinting for the first twenty minutes, you can open your laptop to a warmer, more comfortable screen.

Price: Free

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Edward Snowden joined Twitter 24 hours ago — he already has a million followers and he’s only following one account (TWTR)

On Tuesday, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden joined Twitter.

24 hours later, Snowden has already amassed more than one million followers.

In his first tweet on Tuesday, Snowden tweeted from his verified account: “Can you hear me now?”


Snowden has also made a statement of sorts by his choice of who to follow on Twitter. So far, he’s only following one other Twitter account — the NSA.  

For those skeptical that it’s truly Snowden, The Intercept reports Snowden is controlling the verified account himself.

The former government contractor, who gained fame and notoriety after exposing a trove of classified national-security documents more than two years ago, is living in Russia. 

SEE ALSO: Edward Snowden just endorsed Rand Paul’s big surveillance filibuster

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20-somethings might have figured out an approach to relationships that’s protecting them from divorce

hillary clinton, bill clinton, wedding, marriage

There has been a growing shift away from tradition when it comes to the institution of marriage.

Millenials are waiting longer to get married, and divorce rates have been declining since the 1990s. Those two trends, some sociologists have suggested, could be linked.

And there’s one clear trend that’s easy to spot among 20-somethings and early 30-somethings waiting longer to tie the knot: They’re moving in with their significant others before deciding whether or not to get engaged.

Studies of cohabitation and marriage trends have shown a significant uptick in the number of couples who live together before marriage. While this may sound obvious, looking back at marriage statistics from just 60 years ago reveals how stark of a change this is. 

According to data analyzed by sociologist Wendy Manning at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR), only “11% of women who first married between 1965 and 1974 cohabited prior to marriage.” By 2005-2009, 66% of women were shacking up before marriage: a sixfold increase from their parents’ generation.

Today, multiple studies on relationships and behavior point to cohabitation as the defacto “first union for young adults.” In a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, Manning noted that living together “has become part of the pathway towards marriage.”

As shacking up has become the norm, other aspects of traditional engagements and marriages are shifting at the same time, perhaps in response. For example, “honeyfunds” have taken off as a popular wedding gift option. Millenials are now more likely to ask for cash on their wedding day, instead of a toaster or gravy boat.

breach weddingWhy? Because couples who already live together have built a collection of necessary kitchen equipment or bed linens. Gone are the days when getting a spouse also means having a new empty house that needs filling. 

When people have lived on their own for years, it is hard to register when they marry,” sociologist Arielle Kuperberg explained to the New York Times. “This generation of couples also cohabitate in great numbers, entertain casually, marry later.”

Corinne Reczek, now an assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University, once described cohabitation as a “trial marriage” of sorts. Living together could theoretically increase the odds that mismatched couples with no long-term compatability will break up before tying the knot, thus gently decreasing the divorce rate.

Sociologists have recently begun re-examining the potential links between cohabitation and divorce or separation. Early studies actually concluded living together increased a couples’ risk for divorce, but Kuperberg and others have worked to show how these initial conclusions may have been based on a misinterpretation of the data. 

In a 2014 study, Kuperberg noted that “the previously found association between premarital cohabitation and divorce in earlier decades can in part be attributed to the age at which premarital cohabitors began coresiding.” In short, couples who moved in together at a younger age were more likely to divorce later. That suggests at least part of the previously observed effect might have to do with the age of commitment, not simply the act of living together.

Historian Stephanie Coontz went a step further, in a response to Kuperberg’s findings. She pointed to an Australian study that found that while cohabitation was once associated with higher divorce rates, that’s not just neutralized since around 1988 but actually reversed completely: “For more recent marriages,” those researchers concluded, “premarital cohabitation reduces the risk of separation.”

The US, Coontz suggested, may well follow the pattern found in Australia.

china marriage

There’s actually already some evidence of these more lasting marriages among the cohabitating generation, so millenials seem to have something figured out — though it’s impossible to pinpoint cohabitation as the cause. (It’s probably many things.) As an analysis by The Upshot at The New York Times showed, people who got married in the 2000s are so far divorcing at a lower rate than those married in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

While we can only guess the exact reason for this downward trend throughout decades when so many attitudes about marriage and relationships have changed, sociologists are examining the skyrocketing rates of premarital cohabitation as one possible contributing factor.

Kuperberg has estimated that in just 50 years, there has been a 900% increase in the percentage of couples who live together before getting married, marking an enormous change in societal norms. Is it possible this is an antidote for bad marriages? 

We’ll have to wait and see.

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What net neutrality means for Netflix, AT&T, Time Warner — and you

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Americans are increasingly ditching their desktops and reaching for their mobile devices to access the internet instead. 

For this reason, mobile broadband – or internet access from any mobile device – was included in the FCC’s recently adopted net neutrality proposal, making it subject to many of the same constraints and regulations as the wired internet.

This has added another layer to the hot-button debate on net neutrality – the concept that all data transmitted over the internet, from all sources, ranging from established digital content companies like Netflix to budding online startups to indie blogs, should be treated equally.

In a new report, BI Intelligence examines how new provisions enacted by the FCC are applied to the mobile market, the impact that the application of net neutrality has on stakeholders like ISPs, consumers, and digital media companies, and what is likely to happen with the FCC’s net neutrality rules in the months and years to come. 

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Here are some of the key takeaways:

In full, the report: 

To access the full report from BI Intelligence, sign up for a full-access 14-day trial here. Full-access members also gain access to new in-depth reports, hundreds of charts, as well as daily newsletters on the digital industrybii mobile network life cycles 2g 3g 4g 5g

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Oops: Microsoft lists its new Windows 10-powered Lumia phones online



So much for the element of surprise.

Ahead of its big product launch event next week on Oct. 6, the Microsoft Store accidentally posted details for the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, two Windows 10-powered smartphones that haven’t been announced yet. The listing was promptly removed, but not before we got the details.

First spotted by WinBeta, it appears the Lumia 950 will be the smaller phone with a 5.2-inch display and the Lumia 950 XL will be the larger one with a 5.7-inch screen. The two phones will have QuadHD resolutions of 2,560 x 1,440. Read more…

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Tim Cook described meeting the President of China in one perfect sentence

tim cook xi jinping

Apple CEO Tim Cook met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Seattle last week, and in one sentence he perfectly characterized what it’s like to meet one of the most powerful men in the world.

Did you feel the room shake?” Tim Cook asked after the meeting, according to a report by The New York Times’ Jane Perlez.

The two men were at an internet conference on Microsoft’s campus that the Chinese government put together to greet Xi.

Xi did a ten minute photo op with executives from the top tech companies in the country, from Facebook to IBM.

Xi Jinping is arguably the strongest leader China has seen since the days of Mao Zedong, founder of the ruling Communist Party. Over the last year and change, he has consolidated power through an anti-corruption campaign that has ensnared the highest level party officials in the last 30 years.

And the Chinese people love that. According to the Pew Research Center, corruption is their biggest concern in the country. Xi has also drummed up support by striking a nationalist tone on issues like China’s military activity in the South China Sea.

Its neighbors — US allies — are worried about China’s claims that it has a right to dominate the waters.

Xi maintained that belief, despite US opposition, while speaking at the White House last week.

“We have the right to uphold our own territorial sovereignty and lawful and legitimate maritime rights and interests,” he said.

That’s a room shaker.

SEE ALSO: CHANOS: Here’s why China got so bad in 2015

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‘Back to the Future’ trilogy coming to Amazon Prime in October



Great Scott!

For the first time ever, the entire Back to the Future trilogy will be available online for unlimited streaming. All three movies are coming to Amazon Prime Thursday; they’ll be available through the month of October. That means endless trips to 1955, 1985, 1855 and the version of 2015 where no one knows how to dress themselves!

This is also great news for non-superfans, who will finally be able to see the movies without having to watch their weird friends’ dusty DVDs and listen to their ongoing commentary about how time travel is the coolest, and Back to the Future II is Billy Zane’s best work. Read more…

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